Tag Archives: Sleep Training

Is Sleep Training Selfish? Well, Yes…And No

Is Sleep Training Selfish?

Okay, parents, let’s just get it right out in the open. It’s the elephant in the room for many of our consultation clients, but we think it’s high time we addressed it here on the blog, and talked about it openly.

We’re talking about sleep training guilt.

Have you felt this? Does the idea of sleep training in order to achieve hours of glorious, uninterrupted night sleep and long, peaceful naps sound wonderful to you? But maybe it’s also tainted by a weird, lingering feeling of guilt, that somehow even wanting to sleep train (much less actually doing it) is somehow selfish?

If so – you’re not alone. MANY of the families with whom we’ve worked have said this very thing as they’ve started their consultations – “I’m so excited to be doing this finally, but I also feel super guilty. I feel selfish for wanting to fix my child’s sleep!”

Well, readers, this is the question we’re answering in today’s post: Is sleep training selfish? We say yes AND no – read on to find out why!

Sleep Training “Selfishness”: Why The Guilt In The First Place?

Why does sleep training feel selfish in the first place? Well, most of us end up sleep training out of our own crippling exhaustion. While some parents do sleep train solely based on their baby’s needs, for most of us, it’s a combination of “my baby isn’t getting enough sleep, and NEITHER AM I!!” Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, we need sleep, too. We need adequate sleep in order to have healthy relationships with our partners, to enjoy our daily lives and activities, and to be the best parents we can be.

I also think that sleep training guilt over “being selfish” has a lot to do with the pervasive myth of The Super-Mom. What is the super-mom? Well, super-moms…

  • breastfeed with ease (no latching problems, nipple soreness, or supply issues, thankyouverymuch) and do it exclusively for years.
  • …make ALL baby and toddler food from scratch, using only organic, locally-grown ingredients.
  • …can churn out ALL the crafts on Pinterest – and theirs always look just like the pictures. (Meanwhile, mine end up looking a whole lot more like this…anyone else??)
  • …retain their girlish figures indefinitely (because why let a little thing like multiple pregnancies be an excuse for saggy tummies and less-than-lovely breasts?)
  • …have 18 month olds who are potty-trained AND reading independently.
  • …are unfazed by their toddlers’ monster-sized tantrums and NEVER resort to raising their voices or losing their cool.
  • …can happily subsist on just a few hours of sleep per night, and still be patient moms and loving spouses all day long.

Now, not all of these are unachievable dreams — some of these bullet points may describe you, actually! (Although if the bit about the girlish figure fits you, I have to ask — what’s your secret???! ;) And that one about never raising your voice — could someone please tell me how to manage that on a daily basis??) But the point is that there is NO mom out there who fully fits this profile – because it’s not realistic. A mom who could pull all that off would be more robot than human. Especially that last one — while a small percentage of you may be able to function long-term on very little sleep, I’ll be you’re doing just that – functioning. Not living life to the fullest, not enjoying your family and your life – just functioning. And I’ll bet that most of you (me included) can’t even function on just a few hours of sleep for very long.

You know, I used to wish SO HARD that I was the kind of mom who could be up with the baby all night long and then be sweet and calm and happy the next day — but I’m not. Not by a long shot, actually! I need a minimum of 6 hours at night to function well the next day, and if I have a few nights in a row of getting less than 8 hours of sleep, I need to make up for it with one or two nights of getting 9 or 9.5 hours. I used to feel bad about this – can you believe that? I used to feel guilty for needing to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. But it’s true – and I’ll bet most of you can relate. Because that’s not what super-mom is supposed to do; she’s not supposed to let a little thing like constant sleep deprivation slow her down!

Is Sleep Training Selfish? For Some Of Us…Technically Yes!

You know, the word “selfish” is a pretty loaded one – it has a ton of negative connotations. Lots of dictionary definitions define selfish as being supremely concerned with oneself, and not caring about the needs or interests of others. In short – selfishness is bad, by standard definitions!

But do you know what selfishness technically means? Break the word down, and it simply means ‘concern for one’s self.’ By this definition, then, sleep training can be selfish, if you do it out of a concern that you might literally DIE if you don’t start getting enough sleep! Or if you do it for fear that your marriage might fall apart if you and your spouse don’t start getting enough sleep, and you don’t want your partner to leave you. Or if you do it because you feel yourself sinking into a deep depression that you know is brought on by sleep deprivation.

Technically speaking, those are all “selfish” acts – they’re done out of concern for yourself.


Is Sleep Training Selfish? Ultimately, No.

I think we’d all agree that our reasons for sleep training involve more than just our own wellbeing. Most of us sleep train for our spouses and partners, too – we recognize the toll that sleep deprivation is taking on them. And, of course, we do it for our children, because we know that as long as they are waking too often at night, or taking too-short naps, they are not getting the rest they need for healthy development. And many of us know firsthand that our overly-tired children are simply too tired and cranky to enjoy each day – and that’s something that no parent wants for their child!

So, even if some of your motives for sleep training are technically “selfish”, in that they are focused on your needs, it’s likely you have other reasons for sleep training, too.

And what about those “selfish” motives? Should you feel bad about them? In a word – NO. Taking care of yourself, while it may not be part of the “super-mom” myth, is in reality a very, very healthy practice. If you are so busy taking care of everyone else in your family that you completely ignore your own needs, it won’t be long before you are too burnt out to be much use to anyone. Better to pay attention to yourself AND to your children and your partner – better to focus on meeting your own sleep needs AND on making sure that the other members of your family are rested.

You Don’t Have To Feel Selfish For Reclaiming Your Sleep — Let Us Help!

If you feel desperate to solve your baby or toddler’s sleep problems, and to reclaim your own sleep, don’t let yourself be bogged down by guilt! Sleep training may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself and for your family – so why not start today? Our trained sleep consultants are standing by, ready to help you get started. Your consultant will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you and your family, and walk you through every step of implementation.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

How about you – have you struggled with sleep training guilt? Do you think sleep training is selfish? Share your opinions with us!

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.


bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Seven: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.


BOOT CAMP, PART SEVEN: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)


Boot Campers – YOU DID IT. You made it to the end! And what does that mean? It means – it’s time to celebrate your success! Even small successes get celebrated today :-).

Sweet and awesome Vikki, your resident boot camp encourager, is back today, and she’s bringing us one last boot camp article. Let the celebration begin!

Celebrating A Successful Sleep Training Boot Camp

The Meldrums 2013_4-29My fellow sleep warriors, YOU DID IT. You made it through Sleep Training Boot Camp! Go you! Whether your baby is sleeping through the night like an angel, you just started your sleep training journey, or you’re somewhere in between, CONGRATULATIONS. Every sleep success, no matter how small, is cause for celebration!

Sometimes the hardest part of training is getting started. Even though we struggled with Lyla’s sleep for many months, I just kept hoping it would get better. I had gotten used to our nightly battles and just thought this is what life was like with a struggled sleeper. I wanted a more peaceful situation for Lyla. I wanted to feel rested so I could be a more patient mom. I wanted a happier, less tired household, but I didn’t know if or how any of it was possible. Deciding to try sleep training made it happen. So if you’re just starting out, look for small victories. Did you shave off even a few minutes from bedtime? SUCCESS! Has baby been more open to a change in routine that will lead to better sleep? TRIUMPH! Did baby nap for even five minutes longer than the day before? YOU DID THAT!

It can be so hard to stay consistent during sleep training, but hopefully Sleep Training Boot Camp helped keep you on the road to sleep street! There were so many times while training Lyla I wanted to just give up. Some nights it seemed like it didn’t matter what I did, the kid was not going to sleep. But I found inspiration in the fact that not knowing how to sleep is temporary and teaching her the tools to hang out in happy snoozeland would last her a lifetime. Did you push through when you wanted to give up? GO YOU!

The Meldrums 2013_4-13Did you attack naps during Sleep Training Boot Camp? HECK YES! Naps can be a constant source of stress, especially if baby refuses them. Remember, your baby or toddler needs that sleep, and you need that time in the day to recharge your batteries. Working towards better naps skills with your child is a win, even if it’s just adding a few minutes to sleepy time. There is happy on the other side of that successful nap – AND YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

If sleep setbacks, like teething or sleep regressions, got the best of you, no worries! The tools are still here for you. Whether your baby is a good sleeper that just needs some fine-tuning, or is a chronically awake human like my little Lyla bean, there will be setbacks. But remember: SETBACKS DON’T MEAN FAILURE. Even after you’ve found the sleep training approach that works for you and baby, stuff comes up. YOU CAN AND WILL GET AND KEEP YOUR BABY SLEEPING PEACEFULLY. You can do it!

My fellow sleep conquerors, we came into this Boot Camp searching for a solution. Needing a break. Wanting desperately for our babies to find peaceful, happy slumber. Whether you just took the first step or have worked through a Personalized Sleep Plan™ and are watching baby drool happily in dreamland right now, YOU DID IT! You made progress in helping baby learn to sleep! Remember: no matter where you are in the sleep training journey, keep going. Your baby or toddler will get there, and you’ll be right beside him or her every step of the way.

Congratulations on a successful Sleep Training Boot Camp!!!

Not Quite Where You Want To Be, Sleep-Wise? We Can Help!

I feel like we can’t emphasize this enough: ANY success is worth celebrating, when it comes to sleep training. But even if you’ve had small successes, you may still not be quite where you want to be, sleep-wise. That’s okay – there is plenty of time to keep working on sleep. And don’t forget that we’re here to help you! For TODAY ONLY, you can grab any of our sleep consultation packages, or any of our e-Book titles, at a 15% discount! These boot camp essentials are the tools you need to help get you where you want to be, and to end your journey to better sleep.

Grab a consultation package or e-Book at 15% off – SALE ENDS TUESDAY!

So remember, boot campers – as we say goodbye to Sleep Training Boot Camp, celebrate your successes, even if they’re small. And if you aren’t quite where you want to be, don’t worry! We can help!

What are your sleep training successes? Share them – we want to celebrate with you! Have questions about sleep challenges that remain? Ask, and we’ll answer!


<--Boot Camp Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (Plus An Optional Bonus Step!)


New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

BOOT CAMP, PART TWO: Making Feeding and Schedule Changes (Plus an Optional Bonus Step)

How Small Changes Can Make A Big Sleep Difference

A few days ago, we talked about how important it is to prepare before sleep training. Today’s boot camp article offers another preparation tip – now that you have (hopefully!) done the 5 things you need to do before sleep training, the next step is to take a long, hard look at your baby or toddler’s current feeding and sleep schedule.

Why? Simple – because in our years of working with families, we have found that sometimes, making adjustments to feeding, and to the sleep schedule, makes a big impact on sleep. In fact, some parents have discovered that simply adding in one or two extra daytime feedings, or shifting the timing of naps, eliminates their need to sleep train at all!

We’re not promising that will be true for you, of course, but at the very least, if you have a schedule issue or feeding problem, making the change now will allow a few days for your baby or toddler to adjust before you start sleep coaching, which is a good thing.

So, let’s take these two things separately…


Take a good look at how much your baby or toddler is eating, and then compare that to the recommended averages found on our baby feeding chart. If your little one isn’t taking in enough breastmilk, formula, and/or solid food, then up the amounts.

Also, think about when your baby or toddler is eating. Is there a loooooong stretch between your toddler’s last meal of the day and bedtime? Maybe offer a bedtime snack. Or try cluster-feeding your baby close to bedtime – offer a series of shorter, smaller feeds before bed. Has your baby gotten into a pattern of eating frequently at night and not much during the day? See if you can begin to gradually shift some of those feeds to daylight hours.


The timing of your child’s naps is what matters here, as well as the morning wake time and bed time. Remember, bedtime shouldn’t be too late, as that can make sleep problems even worse. See our (printable!) baby and toddler bedtime by age chart for help with this. Keep an eye on morning wake time, too – as best you can, try not to get your baby up for the day before about 6 or maybe 6:30 a.m.

Naps are key, too – particularly naps that happen late in the day. If your baby’s last “nap” of the day isn’t over until 6:30 p.m., that’s a problem! It’s going to push bedtime way too late. Watch the length of your baby or toddler’s naps, too – while the last nap of the day can be a short, 30 minute catnap at certain stages (and when you’re nearing a nap transition), a truly restorative nap should be about an hour or longer. (Of course, if short and inconsistent naps are part of the reason why you’re sleep coaching, then don’t stress over this too much; make whatever small changes you can, but know that we’ll get into real nap training in another week or so).

Work on making small changes to the feeding and sleep schedule now, and over the weekend. That will set you up for Boot Camp Part #3, when we’ll make (and implement!) our sleep coaching plans. As you work on this step, some resources that will no doubt really help you are our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Use the sample schedule for your child’s age as a template.

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftOr, even better, consider picking up a copy of Mastering Naps and Schedules – it has over 45 sample schedules by age, so you will have plenty of scheduling resources to draw from. And don’t forget that right now, Mastering Naps & Schedules is 15% off – so grab a discounted copy today, and get to work on making those feeding and scheduling changes this weekend!
Of course, at any point, if you feel like you need additional help with anything here (whether that’s the kind of additional do-it-yourself resources you’ll find in our e-Books, or personalized help that comes with a one-on-one sleep consultation), you can visit our Boot Camp Essentials page and grab your boot camp essentials at a 15% discount. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone – we are here to help you conquer sleep training boot camp!

BONUS PART 2: Fill out the Family History Form

You don’t necessarily have to do this part, if you don’t have time, but we think it’ll be really helpful in planning for sleep coaching.

Now, I know what you may be thinking – “What on earth is a Family History Form??” Great question! ;) The Family History Form is a form that we ask all our consultation clients to fill out prior to starting their consultations. It allows us to get all the background information before our consultants create the Personalized Sleep Plans™ for each family.

BUT, filling out the Family History Form isn’t just for our consultation clients – it’s an exercise that can benefit ANY family who’s struggling with sleep. We have heard from lots of readers over the years who have told us that filling out the form helped them so much in the sleep coaching process.

Why? Because the form helps you:

  • …identify your baby or toddler’s specific sleep associations.
  • …summarize the history of your baby or toddler’s sleep issues (when they started, how long they have lasted, if/when they got worse, etc.)
  • …outline what sleep training (if any) you have tried already. It’s key to use your past sleep training experience when creating your sleep training plan (more on that soon), so this step of the form is a vital one.
  • …summarize your child’s current sleep and feeding schedule.
  • …identify your child’s feeding habits and schedule considerations.
  • …pin down your baby or toddler’s temperament.
  • …summarize your own parenting philosophy (which will have a big impact on the kind of sleep coaching methods you include in your sleep plan).
  • …identify your sleep coaching expectations.

Many parents have told us that filling out the form is therapeutic. Some have even told us that, by filling out the form, they were able to clearly see and understand their sleep situation for the first time – there’s just something about putting the facts (and your feelings!) down on paper.

Here’s what Vikki, your “boot camp encourager”, had to say about what filling out the Family History Form was like for her:

BSS Headshot 2“Filling out the form put a voice to our problems. I made lots of notes on Lyla’s sleep and issues around sleep on my own, but filling out the form made it a narrative. It gave me a comprehensive story to look at and problem solve. It also forced me to think through things that I thought were little or insignificant and how they might be impacting Lyla’s ability to self sooth and learn to sleep on her own. It was an excellent exercise and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with sleep issues with their little one.”

And here’s something else to consider – even if you don’t plan to do a personalized consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant now, if you change your mind in the next few weeks, you’ll have your Family History Form all filled out and ready to go. Win! :)

So, if you have time this weekend, after working on implementing feeding and schedule changes – sit down and take a little time to fill out the Family History Form. Then, save it – you’ll need the info in it to tackle boot camp part #3!

Download a PDF copy of the Family History Form HERE. Or, click this link to automatically download a Word version of the form – great if you want to type your info right into the field provided.

Don’t forget that, while you can definitely tackle sleep training boot camp all by yourself, you don’t have to. If you’d like your own personal (but friendly!) drill sergeant, to guide you through this process, we can help with that! We also have a variety of e-Books designed to give you even more resources to help you along in your boot camp journey. And the best part – our e-Books and our consultations are currently 15% off!! So be sure to stop by and pick up your boot camp essentials today.

LOTS to do this weekend! Have any feeding or schedule questions? Ask away, and we’ll answer! Have tips for our readers about feeding and schedule changes, or about the Family History Form? Share them – we love hearing from you!


<--Boot Camp Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train

Boot Camp Part Three: Creating & Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan –>

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train


It’s time to buckle down, put in the hard work, and conquer sleep challenges once and for all.

It’s time for sleep training boot camp!

That’s right, parents – June is Sleep Training Boot Camp here at The Baby Sleep Site®. All month long, we will be coaching you along on Facebook and Twitter, sharing sleep tips, posting inspirational messages, and encouraging you to share your progress (because who knows – parents who share their progress might just be rewarded!! ;)). And here on the blog, we will be walking you through the sleep coaching process, step by step, and offering up the information you need to be successful with sleep coaching.

Vikki MeldrumThroughout this series, we’ll be hearing from Vikki Meldrum. Vikki is a mom who, just like you, came to The Baby Sleep Site® for help with her sweet little daughter Lyla’s sleep challenges. With the help of her sleep consultant, Jen, Vikki was able to solve her daughter’s sleep problems and is now enjoying peaceful nights! Vikki will be chiming in to offer you insights and encouragement as you go through boot camp. After all, she knows what sleep training is like – she’s been there! So think of Vikki as your boot camp buddy – she’s here to cheer you on, and to help you be as successful as possible!

Finally, be sure to visit us all month long on Facebook and Twitter, as we share motivational quotes and helpful hints. And we’ll want to hear from you, too – keep us posted on your progress at #sleepbootcamp, and be automatically entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! We’ll be handing out these gift cards at random to moms who post updates and ask questions – think of them as motivation to stick with it and keep going! ;)

So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to make meaningful changes to your baby or toddler’s sleep – let’s get started!



BOOT CAMP, PART ONE: 5 Things To Do BEFORE You Sleep Train

As eager as some of you may be to get started with sleep training, remember: it’s important to plan first. You won’t make it far without a plan! So, as a first step in planning, we are looking at Instead, we’re going to focus on 5 things parents should do BEFORE they start sleep training. We believe strongly that having a plan can take you far on the road to success; with that in mind, let’s talk over 5 steps to take before you start sleep training.

  1. Catch up on sleep (this means everyone!)

    You’ve heard the expression “things will get worse before they get better”, right? Well, that applies to sleep training in a big, big way. When you start sleep training, expect for everyone to lose some sleep before things start to improve. Remember, your child is learning a new skill here — sleep probably won’t come easily right from the beginning! For this reason, it’s critical that mom, dad, and baby be well-rested before starting this process.

  2. Start a sleep log.

    You may think you know your baby or toddler’s sleep habits, but try keeping a log, and it might surprise you to see patterns that you didn’t know existed. Logging sleep is also a great way to pinpoint exactly what your child’s “real” schedule is (as opposed to the schedule you’re trying to implement!). We recommend you keep logging sleep all the way through the sleep coaching process, too – it’ll help you keep an accurate record, and it’ll highlight where your little one has made progress. You can read more about how to log sleep in this article about how to keep a baby or toddler sleep log.

  3. Develop bedtime and naptime routines.

    Consistency is one of the most important parts of any sleep training plan — the faster your baby learns that the same things will keep happening at the same times, the faster he’ll learn how to break his sleep associations and start sleeping through the night. And routines go a long way towards building consistency.

    Start developing small, simple patterns before naps and bed — this could include reading a few books, rocking and singing a song, having a bath, etc. Start on these bedtime routines and naptime routines before you begin sleep training; that way, your baby will already be familiar with them before you actually start the sleep training process.

  4. Make sure your child has a clean bill of health

    If you know your baby is perfectly healthy, no reason to make a trip to the doc. But if your little one is under the weather, or especially if you suspect that your chid’s sleeplessness may be the result of a medical problem, consider making a quick trip the doc, just to be on the safe side.

  5. Clear your calendar.

    When you start sleep training, you’ll want things to be as normal as possible around your house for at least a few weeks. Consistency is a huge part of sleep training, which is why we don’t recommend that people start sleep training right before a move, before a vacation, before a major surgery, etc. What’s more, if you’re an “on the go” parent, you may need to cancel some of your plans. You’ll probably need to spend your days and nights at home for a few weeks — no all-day errands, no late-night excursions. You want baby to have plenty of time to practice sleeping in crib or bassinette, and plenty of opportunities to adjust to the new schedule and routine.

    To put your full sleep training plan into effect, you’ll need at least 3-4 weeks of normalcy. But don’t worry – if you only have 1 or 2 normal weeks available right now, you can start ‘Phase 1′ of coaching, which might mean you work on a few of your smaller sleep training goals.

All this planning ahead may seem like a lot of work, but remember – good prep work is key to success. Here’s what Vikki had to tell me about the prep work she did before sleep coaching Lyla:

“I actually did a lot of prep before we started Lyla’s sleeping training. I read my plan a few times and made notes on how I could apply it to our efforts with Lyla. I also tried to pick good timing to start when we didn’t have a lot of plans or I could easily opt out of an event in case we were tired or needed to focus on training (so we didn’t skip a nap or change the time we put her down). I also wanted to be mentally prepared. I knew we were about to go on a journey and I wanted to make sure I was ready to start and keep going every day.”

Wise words from a wise mom! So, Boot Camp Part #1 – make sure you’ve covered the 5 bases listed above, and you’ll be ready to tackle the next step (which we’ll share on Friday – stay tuned!)

And remember – as we embark on this month of boot camp, you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t. If you prefer to sleep train yourself, we have a ton of resources packed full of info that will help you along the way (including our e-books, which are currently on sale!) But if you think you might need help, we can provide that, too – our sleep consultants are the boot camp instructors you need to get the results you deserve. Why not consider purchasing a sleep consultation package (also on sale!) and do boot camp alongside a trained, expert sleep consultant?

What are you going to do before you start sleep training boot camp? Share your plans with us! Have sleep training questions? Ask, and we’ll answer!


Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (And An Optional Bonus Step!) –>

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10 Things Nicole Wants You To Know About Sleep Training

10 Things To Know About Sleep Training

Recently, I took some time to talk with Nicole about all the things she’s learned during her years as a sleep consultant, and during the course of the conversation, I asked her, “What do you wish all of our readers knew about sleep coaching?” The result? Today’s article – a list of 10 things Nicole wants you to know about sleep coaching. Read on, and hear from Nicole herself!

10 Things Nicole Wants You To Know About Sleep Training

  1. Baby and toddler sleep problems do not discriminate.
  2. Nicole: I have worked with literally thousands of families from all over the world, and I can safely say that baby sleep problems do not discriminate. Baby and toddler sleep problems cross cultural, racial, geographical, and socioeconomic borders. While this might sound a bit depressing to some of our exhausted readers, I find it comforting! It allows me to reassure my clients that they are not alone in their struggles with sleep, and that there are many, MANY parents around the world facing exactly what they’re facing.

  3. Plenty (maybe the majority) of babies do not naturally “outgrow” their sleep challenges
  4. Nicole: A common misconception that I think exists among parents is that ALL babies will outgrow their bad sleep habits and eventually “figure out” sleep on their own, without any help. Now, there is some truth to this idea – eventually, all children do figure out how to handle night wakings without a parent’s help (I don’t know too many 18 year olds who are still trying to crawl into their parents’ bed during night wakings, LOL!!). But “eventually” may be YEARS down the road. I know families whose elementary-aged children still wake a lot at night, and need a parent to come and comfort them back to sleep, or who need to crawl into parents’ bed most nights each week, in order to fall back to sleep.

    What I always remind my clients of is the fact that while it’s true that some babies and toddlers do “figure out” sleep on their own, in a reasonable amount of time, without sleep training, that is in no way the norm for all kids. In my opinion, it’s unreasonable to expect all babies and toddlers to figure out sleep on their own. That kind of blanket assumption doesn’t account for all the unique factors that are involved in a child’s sleeping habits – factors like temperament, family living situations, parent philosophy, health challenges, etc. Once the 4 month sleep regression hits, and a baby’s sleeping patterns change permanently, PLENTY of those babies need at least a bit of help from a parent to learn a new way to sleep.

  5. In sleep training, the first step is often the hardest to take, for parents.
  6. Nicole: There’s no doubt about it – sleep coaching is work. I am always very clear about that with my clients. But generally, I’ve found that the toughest part of the whole process, for many families, is getting started. Taking that first step often feels daunting and scary for parents, and there have been times when, after receiving their Personalized Sleep Plans™, some clients put off starting for weeks, simply because they’re too nervous to begin! However, what I generally find is that once a parent has started sleep coaching, and especially once they see the first signs of initial progress, they start to gain momentum and confidence, and while the rest of the process may not be easy, they feel good about continuing to do the work, and they don’t feel nearly as anxious as they did at the start.

  7. Speaking of parents – sometimes, it’s the parents who need some “training” before their babies or toddlers can be sleep trained!
  8. Nicole: I often ask parents to think about sleep training as training for both their child AND for them. Often, it’s not just a baby or toddler’s sleep habits and sleep associations that need to be changed – it’s the parents’ habits and associations, too! Here’s what I mean by that: by the time a parent approaches us for help, she has likely been struggling with her baby’s sleep for months. Over those months, her baby has “trained” her, in a way – maybe she’s been “trained” to rock the baby to sleep, or to get up and replace the pacifier every time baby cries. Maybe she’s tried different sleep coaching methods with no success, so she’s been “trained” to know that these methods won’t work. Well, part of our sleep coaching process here at The Baby Sleep Site® is to help both the baby or toddler AND the parents to learn new habits, patterns, and routines when it comes to sleep. In fact, sometimes, I’ve found that it’s mom or dad who needs the most training – once I am able to reset the parents’ expectations and habits surrounding their child’s sleep, their baby or toddler quickly learns how to sleep through the night and to nap better! That’s not always the case, of course, but in some situations, all that stands between a baby or toddler and a good night’s sleep is mom or dad.

  9. Often, babies and toddlers are capable of more than their parents think they are.
  10. Nicole: In some ways, this fits with that last point. I’ve learned over the years that as parents, many of us (myself included) tend to assume that our children are capable of less than they actually are. This is understandable; I think it’s part of our parental desires to protect and nurture our children. But when it comes to sleep, it’s key to remember that your child is probably capable of more than you think she is. I’ve had so many parents tell me that once they “got out of the way”, so to speak, their babies and toddlers quickly figured out new sleeping habits and routines.

  11. While sleep habits become pretty entrenched by 12 months of age, it is definitely possible to sleep coach toddlers – you just have to be creative (and very, very patient!).
  12. Nicole: I’ve worked with a lot of toddlers through the years, and usually, their parents tell me that they wish they had worked on sleep coaching earlier, and not waited until their child was 2 or 3 (or even 4!) before starting. But I always remind these parents that it’s never too late to learn new sleep habits. It’s true that toddlers can be bit more stubborn about their sleep than babies generally are, but that’s okay – it just means that parents need to be consistent and persistent in their sleep coaching. It also means that, as a sleep coaching team (parents and I), have to be creative with our sleep coaching methods. The methods that I use with babies usually aren’t a great fit for toddlers; that’s why I’ve developed my own sleep coaching strategy for toddlers. I’ve found that when parents combine the right, toddler-specific sleep coaching strategy with plenty of patience and consistency, results follow.

  13. Baby and toddler sleep problems are relative.
  14. Nicole: Oh, man, is this ever true! One mom’s “problem sleeper” is another mom’s “dream sleeper”! I think that perspective, as it does in so many areas of our lives, plays a huge role in baby and toddler sleep. Cultural differences regarding sleep also come into play here – while a Western family might consider a 3-year old who still woke multiple times per night and nursed back to sleep to be a huge problem, that scenario is considered perfectly reasonable and normal in other cultures around the world. But remember, don’t let the fact that other parents’ sleep problems may be bigger than yours make you feel like yours are insignificant. They’re not! If your sleep challenges are a big deal for your family, then they’re a big deal for us, too, and we’ll work to solve them. After all, effects of sleep deprivation affect us all differently, too.

  15. Most baby and toddler sleep problems can’t be solved overnight.
  16. Nicole: Having reasonable expectations about sleep coaching is key, and it’s one reason why I ask clients to explain their expectations BEFORE we start the sleep coaching process. While some of our clients do have overnight success, those families are definitely the exception. It takes most families at least a few days to start seeing progress, and 1-2 weeks before they start seeing consistent change in their babies’ or toddlers’ sleep habits. I always advise parents to focus on incremental progress, instead of becoming too focused on the big, lofty end goals (like sleeping 12 straight hours at night, or something like that). This is one reason why we always break sleep coaching down into a series of small steps – doing that helps parents focus on small goals, which ultimately lead to the bigger goals. It also prevents parents and children from burning out quickly.

  17. Even the best sleepers will have “off” days once sleep coaching is done, but this does not mean that sleep coaching has failed.
  18. Nicole: Speaking of reasonable expectations, this is an unrealistic expectation that I encounter from time to time. Some parents are under the impression that once they sleep train successfully, their child will never wake at night again, or have a bad nap, or regress in any way. While that would certainly be nice, it’s a fantasy. ;) In reality, even the best sleepers have off days now and then, and even if you have sleep coached successfully, your baby or toddler will still get sick, get new teeth, go through growth spurts, have sleep regressions – and all of those will impact sleep. What I urge parents to remember is that, first, a child who has been through sleep coaching will likely have less disruption to sleep during those times, and second, a family who has been through sleep coaching has the tools to handle those kinds of challenges without creating new sleep associations, and to get back on routine quickly.

  19. Successful sleep coaching requires a ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ mentality.
  20. Nicole: I think a lot of parents get this, but I still find myself explaining it from time to time. Some parents have a tough time breaking out of their current sleep routines – for instance, if they have been nursing to sleep, or co-sleeping out of necessity, it can feel tough to stop doing those things, even if parents want to. That’s because sleep associations (nursing or rocking to sleep, for instance) provide a “quick fix” for a sleepless baby or toddler. Sure, it’s not perfect, but at least it provides some sleep in the short-term. Same with unwanted co-sleeping – its’ not ideal, but at least it lets everyone get some sleep.

    But the thing to remember is that while sleep coaching can create some “short-term pain”, the long-term gains are big. Yes, correcting your baby or toddler’s sleep associations will make for some exhausting nights and days at first, but the long-term gain is a child who sleeps through the night and naps well. And just about every family I have ever worked with has found that’s a long-term gain that’s worth the work!

Ready To Tackle Sleep Training? We Can Help!

All this talk about sleep training may have some of you feeling ready to get started – and if so, remember that our team of consultants is here to help! If you are ready to work on your little one’s sleep, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will work for your family, the first step is to browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have your own sleep coaching observations to share? Chime in, and share them in the comments section! Have a question about sleep coaching? Ask away, and we’ll answer!

  • Want to tackle sleep training on your own? Why not take a look at our 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, and stay asleep (and stop fighting bedtime!). For toddlers, try The 5-Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Struggling with napping issues? Check out Mastering Naps & Schedules, with over 45 sample schedules included. Best of all, all three books are available to download instantly – you can put them to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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From Waking Every 2 Hours to Sleeping Through The Night! Hear Gerry’s Story.

You might remember that at the end of last year, we featured some very special content here on The Baby Sleep Site® blog. We featured three real families, just like yours – families who spent months struggling with sleepless babies and toddlers. They are families who approached The Baby Sleep Site® for personalized baby sleep help, and who worked one-on-one with our team of consultants. And now, Julie, Ali, and Ilana (and their families) are sleeping peacefully!

Gerry&Yvette300x300Well, to say the response was overwhelmingly positive would be putting it mildly. ;) Many of our readers let us know that they loved hearing stories about real families solving their sleep problems. And so, in the spirit of giving our readers what they want — the Family Features are back!

Today, we are presenting a truly wonderful story. And it comes to us all the way from Bulgaria (because baby sleep problems do not discriminate)! Meet Gerry and her adorable little girl, Yvette. (Seriously, look at that little face – so sweet!) Gerry came to The Baby Sleep Site® for help when Yvette was 10 months old. At that time, Yvette was still breastfeeding every 2 hours, round the clock – and Gerry was understandably exhausted! But, with the help of Nicole and Shaye, Gerry was able to improve Yvette’s sleep while maintaining her breastfeeding goals. It was a big win for everyone!

Here’s Gerry’s story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Hi, Gerry! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your situation when you first approached us for baby sleep help.

Gerry: “Before I got help from The Baby Sleep Site, my daughter was 10 months old and was still breastfeeding every 2 hours, day and night. She was also waking every 40-90 minutes throughout the night, like an atomic clock! Back then, there were many days when she wouldn’t nap at all, or would just take two or three 15-minute naps for the entire day. And even then, she would nap only in my arms or while resting in the sling. Back then, I would put her to sleep often after 10 p.m., and she would fall asleep only while breastfeeding or being rocked for an hour. As a result of all this, I had a breakdown. I was so exhausted.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Gerry. :( I’m so sorry you went through this! No wonder you fell apart; 10 months without a full night’s sleep will break anyone! You must have felt like you were at your wit’s end – and like you were so alone.

Gerry: “I did. Many people said, ‘This too shall pass’, and that I just had to ride it out and wait until Yvette’s second birthday when all babies finally start sleeping well. We even took our daughter to three different doctors, and after all the blood tests and examinations, they just shrugged their shoulders and told me that there was no physical reason why she should be waking so often and sleeping so little. In fact, one doctor actually suggested that we treat Yvette with a medicine with sedating effect in order to achieve better sleep, even though he agreed that she was perfectly healthy. Some people, including this doctor, blamed my breast milk for Yvette’s sleeplessness. But I didn’t want to medicate my baby, and I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding.”

The Baby Sleep Site: WOW. This probably made you feel even worse, right? Not only are you hearing from three different medical professionals that there’s no reason for your daughter’s sleeplessness, you are also being made to feel like her constant waking might actually be your fault!

Gerry: “Yes! As a final resort, I turned to Google, and asked, ‘What to do when a baby wakes every 40 minutes at night?’ That’s how I landed on the Baby Sleep Site. After reading a few blog posts, I purchased a Personalized Sleep Plan™.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! I’ll bet you were excited to finally take steps towards solving Yvette’s sleep problems once and for all. :) Tell us a little bit about how your consultation started, Gerry.

Gerry: “I received my plan, and I was so happy to see that the strategies Shaye laid out to solve my daughter’s sleep problems were simple and divided into ‘baby steps’. I especially loved the ‘Day By Day’ section! It was also great that Shaye explained the reasoning behind each method. And I really loved that The Baby Sleep Site does treat every family according to their specific situation and needs.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Yes! We are so committed to that idea, that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all sleep training. Okay, now because I know our readers will be curious, I need to ask – how did things go once you started implementing the plan?

Gerry: “With Shaye’s help, our beloved baby finally understood that sleeping actually feels good – and now she wakes up happy! Within a few weeks,Yvette decreased the night wakings from around ten per night to less thanYvette300x350 three. Her naps lengthened, and for the first time, she napped for more than 35-40 minutes. And through it all, I kept on breastfeeding – something Shaye encouraged me to continue doing! As a result of getting the sleep she needed, Yvette became a much happier baby, and I finally felt myself coming back to my senses. This may sound extreme, but I really feel that Shaye’s understanding, and the Personalized Sleep Plan she prepared for us, saved our lives.”

The Baby Sleep Site: We get it – getting that plan in your e-mail inbox really does feel like you are being thrown a life line, doesn’t it? Gerry, we couldn’t be happier for you. It sounds like you and Yvette are finally (finally!) getting the sleep you need. And because of that, your quality of life sounds much better!

Gerry: “That’s right. Yvette is 18 months now, and thanks to Shaye and Nicole’s priceless help, she has established healthy sleep habits and we all cherish the moments before bedtime and naptime. The team at The Baby Sleep Site gave us a real miracle!”

The Baby Sleep Site: Honestly, stories like yours make the hard work worth it! Okay, Gerry, before we wrap up this interview – any last words for our readers?

Gerry: “I can’t end without saying one more thank you! Thank you again, Shaye and Nicole, for your knowledge, support, and understanding! We all learned to sleep better at home thanks to your guidance. Keep on doing miracles for all the tired families in need!””

There you have it, readers. Even if your 10 month old baby is waking every 2 hour around the clock, and nursing for less than 30 minutes at a time, even if your baby is has to be fed and held and rocked to sleep all the time – you can solve your little one’s sleep problems! Gerry was facing some big sleep challenges, but with the help of The Baby Sleep Site (and through lots of hard work on her part), Gerry helped Yvette overcome her sleep associations and learn to fall sleep on her own.

And you can do the same. Really! In fact, our trained sleep consultants are ready and waiting to help you do just that. So why not take the first step today, and begin your journey to better sleep as early as tonight?

Click here to learn how you can get one-on-one help from a trained sleep consultant like Shaye.

Want to know more about how our system of personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have sleep training questions of your own? Ask away!

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Your Holiday Sleep Training Checklist

Holiday Sleep Training ChecklistHoliday break is upon us, readers! That is, it’s upon those of us who actually get some vacation time around Christmas. (And I sincerely hope that most of you do!)

If the holidays mean some extra time off for you — AND if you happen to have a sleepless baby or toddler at home — your break may present a great time to work on sleep.

That’s exactly why we’ve created this checklist for you. Here are 5 suggestions as to what you can be working on, sleep-wise, over your holiday vacation.

Your 5-Point Sleep Training Checklist

  1. Work on improving your bedtime routine (if it needs work). To be effective, bedtime routines should be fairly short (~10-15 minutes, longer for spirited children), and should consist of a few quiet, relaxing activities that signal to your baby or toddler that sleep is right around the corner. Your bedtime routine should also happen at about the same time each night.
  2. Work on reducing (or eliminating) night wakings. The age for babies to sleep 8-10 straight hours per night varies greatly. However, expect many babies to be sleeping through the night without feedings by about 9 or 10 months, and most babies by 12 months. By 6 months, your baby should be once or twice per night, and by 8 months, your baby should be feeding just once per night, on average.
  3. Work on getting into a consistent nap and feeding schedule during the day. Consistency is key in creating healthy sleep habits, so work towards a schedule in which meals and naps are happening at roughly the same time each day. You’ll need at least a few days at home to practice this – and holiday break presents a nice opportunity to do just that! :)
  4. Work on shifting your child’s schedule (if it’s out of sync). If your baby or toddler is waking too early, or going to bed too late, or is perhaps napping too much and not sleeping well at night — these are all problems that can be fixed. Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle shift to the schedule (shortening naps, moving bedtime up by 30 minutes, etc.) to correct an out-of-whack schedule.
  5. Work on making sure your baby or toddler is getting enough sleep (if you suspect he isn’t getting enough). Not sure if your baby or toddler is getting enough sleep? You can keep a sleep log for a few weeks, to determine what your little one’s average sleep total is. Then, compare that to the recommended averages. 4 month old babies need anywhere between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per day. From 6 – 12 months, those sleep averages drop to between 12 and 15 hours per day. By the time your little one is a toddler, she’ll need anywhere from 11 – 15 hours of sleep per day.

Will you be working on sleep over the holidays? Tell us your plan!

Are sleepless nights and interrupted naps the unwelcome guests in your home this holiday season? Let us help you make it a merrier Christmas and a happier New Year!

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby, toddler, or newborn develop better sleeping habits. We even have a book that’s designed just for parents who want to work on naps! These are perfect solutions for parents who want to sleep train on their own, but need more information.
  • Want Unlimited Access to ALL Our Products? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice!.
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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Get To Know The Families Behind Some Of 2013s Most Amazing Sleep Success Stories!


Over the past few weeks, we have shone a spotlight on a few of our very own Baby Sleep Site families. These are families just like yours – families who spent months struggling with sleepless babies and toddlers. They are families who approached The Baby Sleep Site for personalized baby sleep help, and who worked one-on-one with our team of consultants. And now, they are families that are sleeping peacefully!

Meet Ilana Collison, and Hear Her Story

Readers, meet Ilana Collison. Ilana lives in North Dakota, but when she originally came to us for help, she had just moved to the U.S., from the U.K. And as if an international move weren’t stressful enough – she did it with a baby who just refused to sleep!

Once Ilana and her family were settled in the States, she contacted us for help with her son Tyler’s sleep. Here’s her story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Ilana, tell us a little bit about Tyler’s sleep history.

Ilana: Tyler was one of those babies who just resisted sleep. It was a bit of aIlana Collison4 joke amongst some of my mummy friends, how Tyler was such a poor sleeper. I often heard, “And I thought mine was bad! I can’t believe he’s been up all day and won’t sleep”. Yep, believe it! And he wouldn’t sleep at night time either. When he did, he woke up multiple times.

Now, before Tyler was born, I had accepted that my own hours of sleep were going to be few and far between. I knew that having a newborn, and then moving to a new country when he was just 3 months old, was going to be challenging. I just wasn’t prepared for the toll that it really took.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s understandable – there’s probably no good way to adequately prepare for something like that! So once you were settled in the U.S., what happened?

Ilana: Once we got settled into our new house, Tyler was 6 months old, and we were ready to have him sleep in his crib, in his own room. Apparently, however, he wasn’t! At that point, I began scouring the internet for information.

At first, I didn’t find anything helpful. Yes, I had a bedtime routine. Yes, we were consistent, but things were just getting worse and worse, and I really felt like Tyler was suffering. I believe that sleep is so important for a baby’s development, and Tyler wasn’t getting anywhere near what he needed. He was grumpy, and his happy mood started to change for the worse.

I can’t convey how bad things had become, surviving on so little sleep for such a long time. And Tyler himself had become so challenging. I loved my son, but things were dismal. My relationship with my husband had become strained, too. One day, I just cried, and cried, and cried. It just all got to be too much.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Ilana – that must’ve been so hard. We know lots of parents who’ve been in that same position – all the exhaustion and sleep deprivation catches up to them, and they finally break down. What did you do then?

Ilana: Ilana Collison3At that point, I had already come across The Baby Sleep Site. So, I waited for my husband to get home from work, and then I literally begged him to sign us up for a Baby Sleep Site consultation package. I was of course skeptical to be parting with money for advice online, but with SO many positive testimonials, I figured it surely had to work. Not only that, but I sensed a real empathy and compassion from reading Nicole’s weekly newsletter, and I just felt that this was going to work for us. And I knew that I had it in me to stick to a schedule. I just needed some pointers and support.

The Baby Sleep Site: So after you purchased your package – what happened then?

Ilana: I wrote up our family history, for Amber (my sleep consultant) to use. Even just writing out the sleep history helped me feel better – it’s like I was emptying my mind of all the issues and putting them into e-mail form. From that moment, I started to feel like there was hope. And then there was – an e-mail from Amber, with our family’s Personalized Sleep Plan™ attached! It was like a ray of light!

The Baby Sleep Site: And what did you think, reading through the plan?

Ilana: The sleep schedule was detailed, and it provided insight and options, as well as room for tweaking to suit our needs as well as Tyler’s. Amber even preempted what Tyler may do in response to the plan. That surprised me – I knew what he would do, but how did she? How could someone who had never met my son know him so well? I honestly couldn’t read the Personalized Sleep Plan™ fast enough! Not only was it informative and clear, but it was positive and encouraging – all the things I knew I needed to get started.

The Baby Sleep Site: Okay, Illana, this is the all-important question: once you started implementing the plan, did it work?

Ilana: Tyler responded to the new routine really well! Within about 4 days of putting the plan into action at home, we saw a significant change. My baby was actually taking naps during the day and sleeping better at night! No, it wasn’t perfect right away. But he did pick up his new routine so quickly.

Ilana Collison copySoon after that, Tyler slept through the night for the first time. I remember lying awake at 4 a.m., wondering if he was okay, and if the baby monitor was working! But of course, nothing was wrong; he was just fast asleep, and enjoying his crib! Now, Tyler doesn’t sleep through the night perfectly every night, but in the main, he does. And now, if he does wake up, we know exactly what to do, and so does he! Now that Tyler is finally getting the sleep he needs, my husband and I are, too. Now, everything about our family is different, and I am starting to feel like my old self.

I should say that I don’t for a minute think our help here is done! We just weren’t blessed that way, with an ‘easy’ baby. This is merely ‘au revoir’ for now, as we shall no doubt be in contact with you again soon (but hopefully not too soon!)

The Baby Sleep Site: We’ll keep an eye out for your e-mail, Ilana! ;) Before we wrap things up – any final words you want to offer our readers?

Ilana: I have no reservations about recommending this service – in fact, I’ve done so a number of times already! To Amber and the entire Baby Sleep Site team: thank you for a most wonderful service. Your patience, humour, and quality advice have been second to none and are worth every penny!

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You heard Ilana’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!


Meet Ali Koch, and Hear Her Story

Readers, meet Allison Koch. Ali lives in Pennsylvania and is mom to little Noelle. Noelle was a great sleeper – that is, until the 4 month sleep regression hit! That’s when Ali contacted The Baby Sleep Site® for help. Here’s her story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Ali, tell our readers a little bit about Noelle’s sleep history.

Ali: My daughter was sleeping through the night by the time she was 3 months old, and she slept great from 3-4 months. Right around 4.5 months, however, she started waking up in the middle of the night again, and so I nursed her back to sleep.

From then on, she was waking up at least 2, 3, or 4 times a night, and would remain awake for an hour and a half to two hours at a time! My husband and I took turns some nights, and we were extremely frustrated! I felt like I was going through the newborn stage all over again.

The Baby Sleep Site: Wow, you must’ve been exhausted! So how did you come across The Baby Sleep Site, and at what point did you decide to get personalized help?

Ali: I came to across the Baby Sleep Site in a Google search – I was searching for baby schedules and sleeping habits. I had already read MANY different books and theories about how to help my baby sleep better, so I decided to look into the site.

Ali Koch-1At first, I questioned the things I read on the site, and whether or not they actually worked. I was also skeptical about paying money to have someone help me after I felt like I had already tried everything on my own.

Finally, when my daughter was 9 months old, I sent a general email inquiring about which services would be best for our family. I was still EXTREMELY skeptical, and I really didn’t think they would offer me any advice that I hadn’t already tried or read about. But after about another three weeks of trying other methods, I finally gave in, paid the money, and begged for help!

The Baby Sleep Site: No problem; we’ve worked with skeptics before! ;) So tell us – what happened after you bought your consultation package?

Ali: I got my Personalized Sleep Plan™ from Nicole very quickly – and it was awesome! The plan was extremely thorough and very helpful.

The Baby Sleep Site: And once you started implementing the sleep plan at home, what happened? How did things go?

Ali: I’ll admit, the first week was difficult. My daughter was not as consistent as I’d hoped she’d be. But through many e-mails back and forth with Nicole, we continued to tweak the plan so that it suited my daughter. And I’m happy to say that, after the first week, she was only waking once or twice a night, and falling back to sleep VERY easily – within ten minutes!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! Glad to hear you stuck with it and made the necessary changes to your plan. How did Noelle’s progress continue after that first week, and how is she sleeping now?

Ali: Two or three weeks into using the plan, she was starting to sleep much more consistently. Within a month, she was going to bed each night at around 7 p.m. and sleeping until 7 a.m., with two good naps during the day. She would still occasionally wake up between 4 or 5 a.m., but honestly, she progressed by leaps and bounds during the time, thanks to Nicole’s help!

Noelle is now 20 months, and she’s still sleeping so much better than she used to. She now takes one nap in the afternoon, and usually sleeps 11 hours, straight through the night. Every once in awhile, if she is sick or teething, she’ll wake up, but it’s okay, because she’s able to fall back to sleep on her own.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s some impressive progress – from waking 4 times a night, for one or two hours at a time, down to no night wakings — and in just a few weeks! We’re so happy for you and your family, Ali. :) Any final words for our readers?

Ali: We are so blessed and happy we came across this site, and that we went with this service! I highly recommend it!!

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You heard Ali’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!


Meet Julie Phillips, and Hear Her Story

Readers, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Julie Phillips. A mom of two little girls, Julie lives in Maryland. She came to us for help when her second daughter was just a few months old. Here’s Julie’s story…

The Baby Sleep Site: So, Julie, tell us a bit about your family’s sleep history.

Julie: I had many sleep struggles with my older daughter. In fact, when my older daughter was a baby, I had even hired a local sleep consultant to help with her sleep problems. It didn’t go well – the consultant’s approach was too harsh, and it went against my instincts as a parent.

I didn’t want to repeat any of that with my younger daughter. However, I did want to get my baby off on the right foot, and help her know how to self-soothe at a young age.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s understandable! So, is that why you reached out to The Baby Sleep Site for help?

Julie: Julie PhillipsYes. I initially discovered this site while looking at sleep articles online. I began getting the free newsletters and reading through the articles on the site. At that time, my second daughter was only 3 months old and was not a particularly difficult sleeper. But again, I really wanted to start her off on the right foot, after my experiences with my older daughter.

I wanted to sleep train, but I wanted to do something gentle that fit with my parenting style and with my baby’s temperament (which I now know is the key to implementing a successful sleep strategy!) And so, when my daughter was 4 months old, I decided to do a consultation with Nicole’s team of sleep consultants.

The Baby Sleep Site: And we’re so glad you did! :) Tell us – what were your first impressions of the consultation process?

Julie: Well, to begin with, I was surprised at how quickly I received my plan. I submitted my daughter’s sleep history, and within just a few days, I received a really detailed, 20-page plan from Amy (my sleep consultant) for nights and naps.

At first, as I looked through the plan, I felt nervous to start. My baby had been co-sleeping, she needed to be swaddled in order to sleep, and she had to have a pacifier every night. I just wasn’t sure how we were going to wean her away from all of that!

But I did start – and I followed the plan to the letter, asking Amy for clarification along the way. I received lots of helpful e-mails from her in response (many of which she wrote at no additional charge to me – thanks, Amy!)

The Baby Sleep Site: Good for you! And now that you’ve had some time to use that plan, and to reflect, tell us – did it work?

Julie: I’m happy to say that just a few nights after we started implementing our Personalized Sleep Plan™ (nights with VERY minimal crying, I might add!), my little girl learned how to sleep all night in her crib, unswaddled, without a pacifier, and only needing to wake once or twice during the night for feedings! It was amazing!!

Amy was there every step of the way, of course, to support me through the process. She was so supportive and encouraging as we worked together – she never made me feel like I was bothering her with my questions.

Honestly, the Personalized Sleep Plan™ has been nothing short of a miracle. It gave me the details I needed to be successful in sleep training, as well as the confidence I needed to actually carry it through and stay consistent. It was worth ever penny I spent on it — and truly, it’s a FRACTION of the cost of most other sleep consultants!

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! We love stories like yours, Julie. So, now that your consultation is done, and that your little girls are sleeping well, tell us – how would you summarize your experience with The Baby Sleep Site?

Julie: The individualized attention, support, warmth, and understanding that I received during my consultation with The Baby Sleep Site was truly amazing. I cannot say enough good things about Nicole, her team, and her site. The access to all the free resources, as well as the affordable sleep packages, are truly a gift. I feel lucky to have found this site, because after just one short week of work, my whole family is now happy and rested! And there was so little crying involved – it was truly worth it. I have already recommended this site to several of my friends – and I’ll continue to do so!

The Baby Sleep Site: Well, thanks, Julie. :) Any last words for our readers?

Julie: The bottom line is this: Nicole’s team will do whatever it takes, and whatever you need, to ensure you get your child (or children) the rest they need. They gave me my sanity and my life back – and they can do it for you!

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You heard Julie’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

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How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before Christmas

Sleep Training Over the Holiday Break
Christmas is right around the corner, dear readers! Of course, you probably already knew that ;) I’ll bet your local big-box stores have had their Christmas displays out for a few weeks now, right? Mine have. It seems like the Christmas season is getting earlier and earlier these days; before we know it, we’ll be seeing Christmas ads in September!

Anyway, speaking of the Christmas season, while all of us no doubt have plenty of work to do between now and Christmas (what with the baking and the decorating and the shopping), we know some of you want to utilize the next few weeks to add another task to your holiday to-do-list: sleep training! Every year, we have a number of families contact our Sleep Helpdesk in early December, eager to get started on sleep training now so that they can have sleeping babies by Christmas. (Because the holidays are so much nicer when you aren’t an exhausted, bleary-eyed, zombie, aren’t they? ;) )

And that’s what we’re talking about in today’s article. Is sleep training between now and Christmas break right idea for your family? And, if so – how should you go about doing it? Read on for details!

Should You Sleep Train Your Baby or Toddler Before the Holidays?

Before we get into the ‘hows’ of sleep training, let’s first take a look at whether or not this is a good plan for your family or not, given the realities of what your particular December will look like.

Sleep training before the holidays may be a good idea if…

  • …you can fit it into your schedule. Sleep training does require some work (on your part and on your baby’s), so if the next few weeks are jam-packed for you, consider waiting until your schedule is lighter
  • …you will be home for the next few weeks, and will not be doing any traveling. Sleep training goes best when you can do it during a time when you have at least a week (preferably 2) of consistent, normal days at home.
  • …you don’t have out-of-town visitors coming to stay between now and Christmas (or, if you do have overnight visitors, they are visitors who will accept your sleep training plans and will not criticize, hinder, or discourage you.)

Sleep training before the holidays may not be a good idea if…

  • …you know you will be too busy to devote your full energy and attention to it.
  • …you will be traveling (especially overnight traveling), or you have lots of holiday plans that will keep you away from home and will mean lots of ‘unusual’, inconsistent days.
  • …you have friends or family visiting who will not be supportive of your decision to sleep train.

How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before the Holidays

Now, as for how to work on sleep training your baby or toddler over the break: here are two options for you to explore.

If you want help with sleep training, then contact us!

We offer a fast turn-around on all of our sleep consultation packages – clients usually receive their Personalized Sleep Plan™ within 4 days of sending us their family sleep history forms. That means that if you were to purchase a consultation package within the next week, you would have your Personalized Sleep Plan™ in plenty of time to start sleep training now, and possibly have a well-rested, sleeping baby by Christmas. Just don’t wait too long to contact us; our HelpDesk will be closed for a few days during the week of Christmas (see our holiday hours here).

If you want to handle sleep training on your own, then you may want to do the following…

  • Work to establish a consistent daytime routine. This means a consistent morning wake-up time and a consistent bedtime. It also means fairly consistent nap and feeding times. Need help figuring out your ideal schedule? Check out our sample sleep and feeding schedules.
  • Decide whether you’re going to work on sleep training for naps first, or sleep training for nights, or both. You can separate out nights and naps, and just pick one to tackle at the start. That can make the process easier on everyone (particularly if you feel anxious about sleep training, or if you have a slow-to-adapt baby who is resistant to change). For more info about nap training vs. night training, read this article. For info about how nap sleep differs from night sleep, read through this article.
  • Decide on how you’re going to approach sleep training. There are lots of ways to sleep train your baby or toddler. And that’s a good thing – it allows you to choose a method that’s suited to your baby and your unique family situation and parenting preferences. Need helping selecting the best method for your family? To see a cheat sheet with 5 of the most common methods explained, click here. For a more thorough explanation of how to sleep train, check out our free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, or our even more comprehensive e-book The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5 Step System To Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers).

Nicole’s Note:
“In my experience, the most important step is often the hardest and that’s taking the first step in the first place. We have two weeks before Christmas and many babies will be sleeping MUCH better by then, if you start today!”

A Few Reminders For Families Who Will Sleep Train Before Christmas

A few parting words, before we wrap up this article. First, if you’ll be sleep training in the next few weeks, remember that consistency is key. Stick with your sleep training plan for at least a week before making any changes to it. It may take a week or more for some babies to show any improvement, and toddlers may take even longer (2 or 3 weeks, perhaps). With this in mind, don’t expect lightning-fast results. You may be able to solve all your child’s sleep issues in the course of the next few weeks, but that will not be the case for every family. What you can definitely do, though, is to get a good start on sleep training, and then carry your efforts over into the new year.

So, will you be sleep training before the holiday break? If so — what’s your plan?

If sleep training is part of your holiday plans, browse these resources that are sure to help:

  • Want to work on your newborn’s sleep over the holidays? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep.
  • Want to focus on naps over the break? Be sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
  • Want Unlimited Product Access? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately!
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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5 Common Baby and Toddler Bedtime Mistakes You May Be Making

Common Bedtime Routine Mistakes

You probably know by now that one easy way to help maximize your little one’s sleep is to create a predictable bedtime routine. Routines help our children know what is coming next, so a bedtime routine signals to your baby or toddler that it is time to wind down, and to get sleepy. This can help greatly in getting your little one to fall asleep quickly.

However, not all routines are created equal! And if there are problems with your bedtime routine, then it may not help your baby or toddler sleep well; in fact, it may disrupt sleep and make it worse!

Are You Making These 5 Bedtime Routine Mistakes?

  1. Your bedtime ‘routine’ is not routine! Remember, the key to a bedtime routine is to follow the same predictable pattern of events before bedtime. That is what puts the ‘routine’ in bedtime routine! But if each day’s bedtime looks different, then your routine is not a routine at all, and you are missing out on the benefits that a strong routine has to offer. Focus on creating a pattern of pre-bed activities, and then make sure to follow it each night.
  2. Your bedtime routine starts too late each night. While many parents understand that the bedtime routine should contain predictable patterns of events, some miss a key element: the bedtime routine should happen at roughly the same time each night, in relation to your baby’s last nap. However, many families start the bedtime too late, pushing bedtime even later. Remember, it should take your baby roughly 10 minutes to fall asleep, so you need to lay her down ahead of time. Having your baby or toddler go to bed without being over-tired is crucial to creating a healthy sleep schedule.
  3. Your bedtime routine has too much going on. If you are trying to cram 8 different activities into your bedtime routine, you may be doing too much. Remember, babies and toddlers can quickly become over-stimulated, so if the bedtime routine is packed full of action, and if it requires you to transition between lots of different activities, your little one may actually become wound up, instead of calming down and relaxing. Instead, stick to a few simple activities at bedtime.
  4. Your bedtime routine is too long. We have already established that babies and toddlers can quickly become overstimulated; they also tend to become overtired very easily. So if your bedtime routine is too long, you can actually miss your child’s ideal sleep window, which means that by the end of the routine, your baby or toddler will be cranky and fussy, instead of sleepy and relaxed. Try to keep the activities you do right before bed (reading books, singing lullabies, snuggling, etc.) relatively short, and be sure to watch your baby’s sleep cues.
  5. Your bedtime routine is too exciting. Tickle fights, while fun, should not be part of your child’s bedtime routine. ;) Same goes for any other exciting, “let’s-get-wound-up” activity. The activities that are part of your baby or toddler’s bedtime routine should be slow and calm and soothing, so as to promote sleep.

What does your baby or toddler’s bedtime routine look like? Share the details with us below!

Need help in developing a bedtime routine, and in getting your baby or toddler to sleep through the night? Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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